Letter |

A letter from civil society to the UK government: Impose access conditions for public funding in COVID-19 research

Photograph by Sara de la Rubia

The race to develop medical tools to respond to COVID-19 is an urgent priority as part of the global response to this pandemic. The UK government has committed millions of pounds of public money towards the research and development of COVID-19 treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines, including £250 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) towards a COVID-19 vaccine -- the largest contribution by any country to date towards CEPI’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts.

On 16 April 2020, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Access Campaign and over 25 civil society organisations and individuals wrote a letter to the UK government demanding that any investments by the UK government towards COVID-19 research and development be granted on condition that the final products are made affordable and accessible to everyone in need.

Without these safeguards, there are no guarantees that a new COVID-19 vaccine, treatment, or test developed with the support of UK public funding will be accessible to everyone who needs it. The UK government must take firm action to ensure that public investment prioritises public health over corporate profiteering.